Let’s try to get this squeezed in before Live Journal goes down for the day!
Last night’s book group discussion centered around Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. The group consensus was that the book was a very good read, and we enjoyed the way the book was a homage to Heinlein in structure and in plot. While we nitpicked a bit (ending was a bit thin, some said; others suggested it was a little wistful and maudlin; sure, your wife’s clone would be the one to rescue you; differentiation of minor characters was meh), overall, we had many good things to say.
Group We (TM) really enjoyed the idea of adventuring after 75. Group We (TM) also felt that the examination of alien life forms as something, well, alien, was worthwhile, as opposed to the Star Trek tactic of gluing a handle on the nose of a biped, and then you’re done. Group We thought the plot was well paced, the science was plausible, and the humor was worthwhile.
The book also stimulated us to discuss issues: were the soldiers really themselves, or copies of themselves, and what does it mean to be a self? What are the ethics of war? What are the ethics of interaction with other species? We didn’t come to any conclusions, because the book is good enough to support several interpretations of answers to these questions. Thus, the literature teacher was happy.
Overall, Group We recommends Old Man’s War, and we hope to read further books which discuss and muddy these issues. Well done, Scalzi.
Next month, we meet December 15th. Don’t forget to bring two things: Your gift book (inspiring or white elephant, wrapped to maintain mystery) and your short stories (no more than 50 pages total) for people to get a jump start for reading in February.
Jim Hines’ Goblin Quest is our next read. Expect some D&D parody action! Jim, we should get you added to the reading group list very shortly.